Most easily understood, Mindfulness is the act of being present to whatever one is doing. Swamis, yogis, Buddhists, hippies and new age seekers have been practicing mindfulness by method of meditation or other, for centuries. The benefits have been experienced by many and are reported, mostly in spiritual terms, to soothe the soul, still the mind and bring a sense of profound contentment. So what of this practice coming to the fore in business and organisational life?
The recent cover of TIME suggests there is a mindfulness revolution at play, and it’s the organisation and corporate setting where the action (or in-action) is taking place.
I have long been interested in and practicing of relaxation and meditation techniques, having keenly studied the likes of Candace Pert and Hans Selye around the topic of psychoneuroimmunology. The science behind the mind-body connection is fascinating, and empowering knowledge when we learn that the potential negative impact our stressed-out lives can have on our physical beings, can be held at bay or even reversed. Amazing.
In a former life I had the privilege of teaching this science to volunteers-in-training who would go on to support people caring for their dying loved ones. It was essential learning for those whose jobs were profoundly taxing, and essential learning for all people where self-care had taken a back seat. It still is essential learning. Given our thirst for an evidence-base to back up anything at all, even practices that have for millennia helped people, it is brilliant that the scientific evidence of mindfulness is making its way outside the medical, complimentary health, spiritual realms, and into the workplace. An organisation that begins the journey of encouraging self-care of its people is an organisation well on its way to success.
Even more exciting than the health and wellbeing benefits of mindfulness and the practice of such in the business and organisation setting is the potential for the practice to open business and people to purpose. A mindful approach is possibly the best way to expedite the journey towards an authentic purpose, from finding it to living it.
If you haven’t heard of the Wake Up Project, check out this event they are hosting in Sydney, ‘Search Inside Yourself’ – a mindfulness-based course born at Google, based on science, to develop effective leadership and happiness.
– Melanie Greblo